How to Make the Most of Product Portfolio in a Commerce Strategy?

Once marketers know which platforms their audiences visit for research, inspiration and shopping, they need to ensure they send the right signals to be relevant when it matters the most. It entails being able to maximise the breadth and depth of their product portfolio, making the most of their daily available inventory. 
This can be challenging for brands, especially when they have hundreds of stock keeping units (SKUs) in their catalogue, sell in dozens of different languages, run frequent promotions, or use dynamic pricing. Here again, data, combined with automation, can help.
Decathlon Spain Provides Clear Click-and-collect Inventory Level to Consumers  


As organisations develop their online commerce, supply chain managers, product leads and marketers have been looking for efficient ways to process data across departments and environments. Solutions such as Master Data Management (MDM), Product Information Management (PIM) and Data Asset Management (DAM) have grown in popularity over the last five years but are only used by less than half of marketers (46%) according to the iProspect 2019 Global Commerce Survey.[i] As described by Gartner,[ii] the combination of these solutions takes marketers closer to a single view of the product, from specifications, to marketing description, to product videos and more. These standardised and centralised sources of truth are not only useful to keep catalogues up to date with inventory across the brand properties (e.g., website and social platforms), but also to ensure third-party retailers display products in a consistent and time-efficient way through product syndication. However, too few advertisers seize these opportunities. In Europe, for example, only 25% of retailers offer a clear and consistent indication of product availability online, and less than half (48%) of product availability in-store.[iii]

These solutions can also be very useful for advertising purposes. For instance, marketers can detect the most important terms for their audiences through keyword analysis, then isolate the most relevant attributes corresponding to these terms in their PIM platform, and, as a result, export tailored product feed. These feeds can then be pushed through media channels so that the ad copy is dynamically adapted to the user query, or the retargeting banner automatically features the last item seen. This means ads are more relevant to users and marketers limit ad waste by not promoting out-of-stock products or items with margins too thin to support the cost of advertising.


How to Make the Most of Product Portfolio in a Commerce Strategy

Source: Decathlon Spain website, Screenshot, April 2019

“Digital commerce is not necessarily about the transaction happening online. Obviously, selling to consumers online through our partners is critical. However, digital also enables us to better understand our consumers to create convenient and engaging experiences. For instance, we have a partnership with Tinder, which is not just about directly selling drinks through the app, but about being more relevant for people through contextual advertising. When people make a match, we suggest drinks and promos for their first date. Search analysis also gives us a lot of information about what people expect: they are looking for recipes for cocktails, for the best beverages and for promotions. Thus, we created a Facebook Messenger bot to address their specific needs in a simple way, guiding them according to their specific moments and contexts. This kind of initiative that looks beyond the transaction has been more useful for us to connect with the consumers than other types of promotions like two-for-one. Typically, we take advantage of the online ecosystem, but the transaction happens offline as people often want to buy liquids in their supermarket or in their department store. So, it’s not either one or the other. We always focus on consumers’ needs.”


Jesus Valdelamar

Head of Consumer Planning & Marketing Communications, Diageo Mexico



Case Study: KLM


Few products are as complex to market as airline tickets, with available quantity and price constantly varying according to many factors such as passenger load factor, route popularity or external events. For airlines, it is critical that their advertising effort correctly reflects all these factors in real time to stand out from the competition and capture consumer demand.


KLM is the world’s oldest airline still operating under its original name and one of the leaders of the European air transport industry, with digital marketing operations spanning 73 markets. As search engines play a prominent role in travellers' decisions, paid search is a key area of focus for the brand, which manages 12 million dynamic ads from 133 AdWords and Bing accounts. When Google introduced Expanded Text Ads (ETAs), almost doubling advertising space to advertisers, it meant KLM had to rewrite all their ads because dynamic standard texts would not fit the new format - a gloomy prospect due to the global scale of their operations.


However, this extra space was also an opportunity to feature more information and dynamic elements from the KLM offering. With the help of iProspect, KLM built a new, richer product feed containing new bits of information such as fares, city codes, airports, and other dynamic characteristics of each flight across the company’s network. KLM also created new ad templates in iActivate so that ads can be automatically filled with destinations and prices from the feed, using all relevant variations of keywords. In doing so, KLM was able to automatically create millions of advertisements with the right prices and flight routes in 25 languages, while only having to design the templates. 


Combining the right data (feed) and the right scripting methodology (templates and technology), KLM transitioned all its accounts to make the most of this new opportunity within only three months, resulting in 20% more sales, 19% increased revenue, 6% greater return on investment (ROI) and 13% lower cost per click.


This article is excerpted from the report Data-Driven Commerce.  Download it now for key insights on winning at commerce in the new digital economy.





[i] iProspect 2019 Global Commerce Survey, May 2019

[ii] Gartner, Creating the 360-degree view of Product, April 2017

[iii] Think with Google, Retail customer experience benchmarking - Best practices & best-in-class retailers, February 2018